Governor Reynolds Open to Restoring Felons’ Voting Rights
Iowa is one of two states that ban convicted felons from voting even after they've paid their debt to society. Yesterday, Governor Kim Reynolds indicated she's open to restoring that right. She'll discuss her position on felon voting rights, along with other criminal justice reforms in her Condition of the State address this January according to a report from KCRG.
I've always thought laws like this have been on the books for years. Left over from a time when maybe the criminal justice system thought losing the right to vote might be deterrent to stop crime. I was wrong. This law's only been on the books since 2011. Put into place by former Governor Terry Branstad.
I'd like to see it go away. As much as I'd like to think we're all really patriotic; I don't think someone planning to engage in a criminal act won't do something because he or she could lose their voting rights. Secondly, once society's debt is paid, that person should be able to move on.
Obviously, convictions just don't go away. They follow the felon around and impact that person for the rest of his or her life. Allowing a felon to vote might serve as an acknowledgement from the state recognizing that the person has paid their penalty and can now contribute to society. At least that's how I see it.